Thursday, June 28, 2012

NY - It's not okay to hurt my family

Video Description:
The sex offender registry puts millions of family and children in danger - WITHOUT actually preventing sexual abuse. It's NOT okay with me, is it okay with you?

WA - Attorney urges lawmakers to change sex offender registry

Original Article


By Hana Kim

OLYMPIA - A Seattle lawyer urged state lawmakers Wednesday to whittle down the sex offender registry, saying it’s stigmatizing a large group of people who he believes no longer pose a threat.

Attorney Brad Meryhew spoke before members of the state House Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness about possible changes to the state registry.

What I am going to propose is there is an automatic expiration for juvenile offenders,” Meryhew said. “Someone is deemed a Level 2 when they got out of prison; 20 years later, all the research tells us, they are not Level 2s.”

He said the current system is too expensive, ineffective and creates a false sense of security for the community.

Lindsay Palmer of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center indicated such a change would be difficult to manage.

Just to automatically say we want this large group of people off the registry … for one, who is going to manage that? Who is going to click them off? If we were going to click them off, who will do the research to see if they have been crime free?

Meryhew says there is only a small group that is most likely to reoffend and added, “We are getting really good at identifying the people who pose a risk to the community.”

Yet, he said, the system still lumps all sex offenders together, thereby continuing the stigma for those who are now law-abiding citizens.

State Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, chairman of the public safety committee, said, “I disagree with the characterization that we paint all sex offenders with the same brush, because we don`t. That`s not how it`s done right now.”

Hurst said, however, he’s keeping an open mind because changes to existing laws are always possible.

We want to make sure that we take the most violent sex offenders and shove most of the resources to really keeping a close eye on those folks,” he said.

NV - Ex-officer (John Norman) may avoid sex offender listing for groping women during traffic stops

John Norman
Original Article


By Lawrence Mower

John Norman won't be sentenced before October, but whatever punishment the ex-Las Vegas police officer receives, he probably won't have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

That's even though he pleaded guilty to one count of open and gross lewdness for groping a woman during a traffic stop.

Was Norman given favorable treatment?

It depends on whom you ask.

Who gets entered into sex offender registries, and why, has been a source of debate nationally and in Nevada. Here, someone is entered into the database if they are convicted of sex crimes ranging from sexual assault to lewdness to indecent exposure.

Maggie McLetchie
Maggie McLetchie, a lawyer who has worked to reform the registry and classification system, calls the state laws "a huge mess." Somebody could be in the database for urinating in public, but some sexual predators could escape registration.

She said Norman is one such example.

"If anybody should be subject to the registry, it's somebody like this," McLetchie said. "This is somebody who was systematically assaulting women in public."

Norman was charged with two counts of open and gross lewdness and three counts each of coercion and oppression under color of office for a series of traffic stops between June and December last year.

On two of those stops, he was accused of groping female motorists' breasts. He told them he was checking to see whether the women were hiding anything under their bras.

Under the terms of the plea deal, announced Monday, Norman will plead guilty to one count of lewdness and one count of oppression under color of office. He will register as a sex offender, but if he completes his sentencing - probation or two years in jail - the lewdness charge will change to oppression, expunging Norman from the sex offender database. Both charges are gross misdemeanors.

Norman has resigned from the Metropolitan Police Department, and he faces sentencing Oct. 30.

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada said this week that the sentence seemed light. Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn would not say that. But he did have an issue with Norman being given the option to be removed from the database.

"Because this police officer was acting under the color of his authority ... for them to work out where it does not stay on his record, to me, is very troubling," he said.

Other lawyers the Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke to said that the terms were reasonable, however.

Robert Langford
Attorney Robert Langford has worked with McLetchie to reform offender registration laws. But Langford, who also defends sex offenders in criminal cases, said Norman's sentencing wasn't unusual for a first-time offender.

"Assuming he showed the district attorney's office that there was a low risk to reoffend and some other things, I wouldn't necessarily say that it was an unusual plea bargain," said Langford, a former prosecutor.

There could be other factors at play, too, he said. The victims could prefer to settle the case instead of having to go through what could be an emotionally grueling trial.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci said prosecutors asked the victims about the deal before making the offer to Norman. The option to be removed from the offender database was not unique, he said.

"We discussed it with the victims and felt this was the appropriate offer," he said.

Defense attorney Joel Mann he wasn't surprised by the deal, and he has seen other cases in which defendants were offered the option to be removed from the registry.

"My eyes didn't pop out of my head saying, 'Oh my God, how did he get that?'  " he said.

He added, "Obviously, the more grave the sexual encounter is, the less likely you are to get something like that."

Attorney Robert Draskovich said he "regularly" sees deals similar to Norman's.

He agrees with McLetchie's view of the sex offender registry, which he described as a one-size-fits-all system that doesn't serve much purpose.

"A guy who urinates in public could have the same reporting requirements as a guy who rapes a 5-year-old girl," he said. "It's not very common-sensical. Does it protect the community? Not really."

WI - Court: Woman (Barbara Patterson) abused process in sex offender fight

Original Article


MADISON (AP) - A state appeals court says a Grafton woman abused the legal process when she filed a complaint against a sex offender's family.

Barbara Patterson put up fliers in 2009 announcing her neighbor, [name withheld], had decided to let her sex offender son move in. The [name withheld] family began receiving prank phone calls and drivers started gawking at their house.

After the family warned Patterson they planned to sue her (PDF), Patterson filed a complaint alleging family members threatened her.

The family filed a lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy, defamation and abuse of process.

A judge dismissed all three claims, but the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Patterson did abuse the process, saying she exaggerated her threat claims.

Patterson's attorney didn't immediately return a message.

Sex Offender Policy Requirements Updated

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